Sudanese Refugees Begin New Lives Alongside Host Communities in the Central African Republic

Meta Description: Sudanese refugees in the Central African Republic are starting new lives alongside host communities in Birao's district, Korsi. This inclusive initiative aims to provide stability, hope, and coexistence for refugees while fostering strong bonds with the local population. Find out more in this report by UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency.

Mohamed with four of his children in Korsi. He was a trader back in Sudan, but his shop and all his belongings were burned.

Over half a million people have been displaced across borders since the conflict in Sudan erupted in April. While most have sought refuge in Egypt and Chad, approximately 16,000 have found solace in the Central African Republic (CAR). 

Fatma, who had been stranded in the village of Am-Dafock on the border, relocated to Birao along with hundreds of other refugees, primarily women and children. The urgency to move people away from the border stemmed from the harsh conditions, escalating insecurity, high temperatures, and the impending rainy season that would render roads impassable for delivering humanitarian aid.

To encourage inclusion and coexistence, a new district named Korsi has been established in Birao, specifically for Sudanese refugees. The National Commission for Refugees and UNHCR collaborated to allocate this site, aligning with CAR's historical policy of hospitality and generosity. Fafa Olivier Attidzah, the UNHCR Representative, emphasized that Korsi offers Sudanese refugees a sense of home, stability, and hope.

Korsi not only provides shelter but also incorporates psychosocial support infrastructure like safe spaces for women and girls and child-friendly areas. Although life remains challenging, Bakita, a participating refugee woman in a sewing group, expressed gratitude for the safety they now feel.

Both the residents and authorities of Birao and Korsi have warmly welcomed the refugees. Korsi, which translates to "welcome" in the local language, aims to foster stronger community ties. Joint activities and projects have been designed to benefit both refugees and locals. For instance, they celebrated the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha together, water pumps were installed for communal use, and a farming area outside Korsi was designated for refugees to cultivate crops for the local market.

Education initiatives are also underway to bring together children from both refugee and host communities, ensuring inclusive and quality education for all. The Sudanese imam in Korsi, Ali Issa, emphasized the importance of learning French for refugee children to express themselves and their needs effectively. These projects aim to help Sudanese refugees rebuild their lives after the abrupt upheaval caused by the conflict while keeping the dream of returning home alive.

The ultimate hope is that young people can eventually return to Sudan to rebuild their country. The imam expressed his desire to witness this day firsthand while acknowledging the significance of not forgetting the past or those who could not leave [UNHCR].

Source: UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency. "In the Central African Republic, Sudanese refugees start new lives alongside host communities." Available at: